Gary Maroccia, Director of Strategic Partnerships at AvantLink affiliate network joins Geno Prussakov, Founder of Affiliate Management Days and AM Navigator LLC to discuss the value of the affiliate marketing channel and the importance of attribution modeling for affiliate programs to track sale referrals.
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Question: If you were to emphasize one important area that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why?
Gary Marcoccia: Attribution modeling for affiliate programs. Seek out more intelligent ways to track all sale referrals.
As performance marketing continues to evolve, affiliate managers should look beyond the all or nothing “last click wins” model of crediting publishers.
With online consumer behavior changing and becoming more savvy, customers visit many publisher websites searching for the best value. Insight on every move a customer makes (sometimes over many weeks) on the path to purchase is crucial to have.
With complete click stream data/analysis affiliate managers can make better informed decisions on who to work with and how to structure attribution, resulting in a much stronger program ROI (return on investment).
Question: What do you see as the main areas of opportunity for online and affiliate marketers in 2013 and 2014?
Gary Marcoccia: Mobile shopping compatibility. Whether you are a retailer using Magento, or a publisher using WordPress, be sure you have a mobile version of your site. Here are a couple of statistics to consider:
- By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people.
- The number of U.S. mobile coupon users will rise from 12.3 million in 2010 to 53.2 million in 2014, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones.
Question: As a director of a reputable U.S. affiliate network, what do you view as the main areas where affiliates can truly help online merchants, adding value to the pre-sale process?
Gary Marcoccia: The most value publishers (in any category) bring merchants is via new customer referrals. Often times, new customer acquisition by way of affiliate marketers is completely overlooked. A 10% commission on a $100 sale (or commissions paid on several sales within a cookie life) is a small price to pay for a new and loyal customer.
Question: It isn’t unusual to hear that since affiliates operate in the mix with other marketing channels that merchants use (paid search, retargetting, social, etc.) With this multi-touchpoint ecommerce, the last-click attribution model is not longer an optimal one. What do you recommend?
Gary Marcoccia: One of our primary objectives at AvantLink is to be transparent with the data we collect. This is true on both sides of the equation. As long as program terms are clear, attribution modeling can be applied in a fair and effective way. This holds true within the Affiliate channel itself, and also with a merchant’s internal marketing channels.
Since you asked for my recommendation, take a look at AvantMetrics.com, an AvantLink product and solution for attribution modeling, multi-network de-duplication and more. It makes attribution modeling possible using the publisher referral classification framework of “introducer,” “influencer” and “checkout influencer.” Merchants set their own business rules based on this framework.
For example, perhaps they want to award a “checkout influencer,” defined as a publisher who sets a cookie after the customer has initiated the checkout process, 50% of a standard commission.
Question: If you were to leave online advertisers/merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?
Gary Marcoccia: Invest in your Affiliate program, and be patient. Do not put the program on auto-pilot.
To build an affiliate program the correct way is a process. It takes time. Be sure to have an experienced program manager, pick a network that fits (or two, but not five) and communicate regularly with publishers to build relationships.
Regardless of what you may have heard, you will not flip a switch to live status at any network and see sales start coming in immediately. If that does happen, look closely at publisher tactics to be sure there is a true ROI (return on investment) on their sale referrals.
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The upcoming Affiliate Management Days Conference takes place April 16-17, 2013. Follow @AMDays or #AMDays on Twitter. When registering, make sure to use the code SBTAM250 to receive an additional $250.00 off your two-day (or combo) pass.
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